WSUV event celebrates 28 women of distinction

Distinguished Woman of the Year awards will be presented to three

By Susan Parrish, Columbian Education Reporter



Washington State University Vancouver will celebrate 28 women who inspire, mentor and empower others at the annual Women of Distinction event at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Firstenburg Student Commons, 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave.

The event is free, but guests must register to attend at Free parking will be available to guests in Orange lots beginning at 4:30 p.m.

A Distinguished Woman of the Year award recipient will be chosen in each of three categories: high school student, WSU Vancouver student and community member.

Recipients are determined by a committee of WSU Vancouver staff, faculty, students and community members. The event is co-sponsored by Unitus Community Credit Union.

High school nominees

Lauren Clark, a senior at Columbia River High School, excels in math and plans to study business in college. She is a math tutor and a Girl Scout.

Krti Hariharan, a senior at Camas High School, volunteers with the Oregon & Southwest Washington Blood Program. She initiated a school chapter and serves as chapter president. She plans to attend WSU to become a nurse practitioner.

Victoria Hernandez, a senior at Heritage High School, is enrolled in the Teaching Academy, works in the Heritage Food Pantry and is a member of the Gay Straight Alliance program.

Kaitlin Maguire, a senior at Union High School, plans to study molecular biology and medicine and aspires to work as a pediatric nurse in developing countries.

WSUV student nominees

Elizabeth Brodie, station manager at KOUG Radio, will graduate in May with degrees in anthropology and public affairs.

As president of Kappa Omicron Nu, senior Kelsey Condon organizes student support sessions and a mentor program and volunteers at Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington.

Terri McReynolds plans to become an academic adviser after she completes her humanities degree. She chairs the Student Media Board and facilitates a university-to-community educational outreach project.

After Beth Miles graduates in May with degrees in psychology and humanities with an emphasis on human resources, she plans to attend law school. She volunteers with a campus Christian group and at her church.

Audrey Miller, editor-in-chief of the VanCougar student newspaper, is a graduate student in the masters of public affairs program. She plans to attend law school and work in the field of sustainable development.

Sara Seyller, managing editor for the VanCougar student newspaper, will graduate in May with a master’s degree in public affairs. She works multiple jobs to support her family.

Kim Stewart, a graduate student in the masters of accounting program, is a member of the executive team of the Institute of Management/Beta Alpha Psi Honor Society and volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Shavey Winters, Associated Student Body president, will graduate with a public affairs degree in May.

Erica Zutz, public relations director for the student-run KOUG Radio, will graduate in May with a degree in social science.

Community nominees

Helena Abernathy went to college to support her family after her husband became disabled and could no longer work in the logging industry.

Brenda Alling, director of marketing and communications for WSU Vancouver, mentors writers and helps interns and student media organizations hone their skills.

Dana Baker, associate director of the College of Arts and Sciences and an associate professor in the School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs, is interested in issues relating to neurodiversity and neuroethics.

As a program assistant at WSU Vancouver, Kafiat Beckley helps others achieve their educational goals.

An immigration program counselor at Lutheran Community Services Northwest, Jasenka Cehajic counsels refugees and immigrants regarding their rights and responsibilities’ pertaining to their immigration status.

Susan Courtney, a consultant and community volunteer, operated the Hidden House Restaurant and Paradise Cafe for almost 30 years. She and her husband support arts, education and architecture through the Courtney Irvin Foundation.

Realtor Carol Curtis is a former Clark Public Utilities commissioner and was the first female president of the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce.

Laurie Drapela, an associate professor of criminal justice at WSU Vancouver, focuses her research on juvenile justice policy, community corrections and therapeutic specialty courts.

Dene Grigar is director and associate professor in the creative media and digital culture program at WSU Vancouver. Grigar and her students have completed countless digital projects for nonprofit and for-profit businesses.

Nikki Hinshaw is the student activities director for the Office of Student Involvement at WSU Vancouver.

A Junior Achievement volunteer, Jennifer Horowitz has brought JA’s financial literacy program to students in the Evergreen and Vancouver school districts.

Temple Lentz, director of content and communications for High Five Media, produces and hosts Vancouver’s live talk show “Hello Vancouver!” and writes “The Daily Couve” blog.

Born and raised in Havana, Cuba, Maria Lopez immigrated to the U.S. in 2000. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Spanish from Portland State University and teaches Spanish language and culture at WSU Vancouver.

Cyndie Meyer is the program manager for Chronic Disease Prevention at Clark County Public Health.

Veronika “Ronnie” Noize is a marketing coach, founder/managing director of the DIY Marketing Center and an officer of the Women Entrepreneurs Organization of Southwest Washington.

A private trainer and group fitness instructor at WSU Vancouver, DeeAnn Perler inspires others to lead healthy, active lives.

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